April 17, 2013

Movie Review: The Day Time Ended (1979)

This journey into the Sci-Fi Invasion box set is off to a rough start. I am a mere three films into the 50 that it contains and have so far suffered through a trio of duds. The latest one is called The Day Time Ended, however you may know it as Earth's Final Fury, Time Warp, or Vortex. It seems that they just could not agree on what to call this thing, or hey just decided to trot out a new name with successive releases hoping you wouldn't notice and go see it again. Allow me to warn you against this movie.

The Day Time Ended is not a good film. It has, essentially, one set that appears to have been made of plywood, a budget that perhaps hits twenty dollars, and special effects that do not quite cut the mustard. It was directed by John 'Bud' Cardos, who was also behind the Shatner classic Kingdom of the Spiders. Financing the venture is low budget producer extraordinaire Charles Band (Puppet Master).

The movie is a family friendly outing. Family in that there is nothing remotely offensive in the slightest. Friendly in that you are more than happy to share the boredom with anyone you can, perhaps turning it into a Mystery Science Theater 3000-styled laughathon. Sadly, I watched it all by myself and found it to be rather trying as I tried valiantly to retain consciousness.

The setting is a "futuristic" plywood house in the middle of the desert. It is completely powered by solar power, a fact mentioned in a way as to suspect its later importance, it is never mentioned again. That could be said about a lot of this movie. Things happen, are never mentioned again and the people seem unenthused. That last bit also applies to the audience.

There is no real plot to speak of. There are radio announcements of a triple supernova whose effects are just now reaching Earth. Of course, strange things happen. Our extended family in the desert see lights dance through the sky, horses by turned into glowing green pyramids, a thing dubbed the vacuum cleaner from hell, plus a few claymation critters, one little one that pirouettes through the bedroom and a pair that fight each other outside. None of this is nearly as interesting as it sounds.

Seriously, the only thing even remotely interesting is Jim Davis (Dallas, in his final screen role) as Grant, the family patriarch. From the weird gifts, to his wielding of a pistol, to his droll, gravelly delivery of everything, there is just something very off and out of place, perhaps even bored about the performance. I loved how he, after pointing a gun at his granddaughter wanders off muttering "I could have shot her" sounding almost like he wanted to. I also loved his bit "Do you know what this is? It's a space time warp." insanity.

The movie doesn't even reach the 80-minute mark and even with that short running time it feels like an eternity. It just rambles along cutting from scene to scene with no context or reference to what just happened. People just witness what happens and things move on. It would have been nice if somebody reacted to something, shoot it, explore it, anything. And let's not even get into Christopher Mitchum (Robert's son) and his quest for gas and wandering through the desert.

Not Recommended.

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